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The Langley: Residential High-Rise At 1717 Bissonnet St.


musicman

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I still believe the primary tactic of the residents is to delay this project until legal fees, shift in capital markets, shift in demand, etc force Buckhead to take another route.  I know Buckhead has very publicly stated they will fight this as far as it can go (Supreme Court?), but the costs they're incurring have to be getting outrageous? Do you think they'll eventually sue to recoup those expenses?

 

 

That's what I don't understand.  Given the resistance of the neighborhood, why would they continue to push the tower?  Why not work with the neighborhood to come up with something everyone can live with?  Who are they benefiting by being  confrontational? 

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That's what I don't understand.  Given the resistance of the neighborhood, why would they continue to push the tower?  Why not work with the neighborhood to come up with something everyone can live with?  Who are they benefiting by being  confrontational? 

 

Themselves and other developers in the future.

 

And any business who relies on predictability of regulations and the rule of law.

 

Besides these groups, nobody really.

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I still believe the primary tactic of the residents is to delay this project until legal fees, shift in capital markets, shift in demand, etc force Buckhead to take another route.  I know Buckhead has very publicly stated they will fight this as far as it can go (Supreme Court?), but the costs they're incurring have to be getting outrageous? Do you think they'll eventually sue to recoup those expenses?

 

 

That's what I don't understand.  Given the resistance of the neighborhood, why would they continue to push the tower?  Why not work with the neighborhood to come up with something everyone can live with?  Who are they benefiting by being  confrontational? 

I think it will be very difficult to please the residents while allowing the developers to make a profit.

I mean, what if the developers wanted to build a hideous one story building? They could argue that would lower their home values too.

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Those effin residents ... we should start a fund to assist with the developer's legal fees. In return the developer can name a floor or a park bench in honor of the largest donors.

The LTAWACS Amenities level

;)

Edited by Sky-guy
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Property rights are a two way street. That's the law. 12-0 jury verdict in short order reflects the law.

 

Buckhead can build this thing. The ruling didn't block them from building. It just states that if they do, they must compensate others for lost value and damages. 

 

The fact that some residents weren't compensated because they were too far away to be impacted by things like foundation issues demonstrates to me that the jury was paying attention to the facts presented.

 

 

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Really good article on this: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/real-estate/article/Verdict-in-Ashby-high-rise-trial-fuels-other-5076112.php?t=9da956ccec3b9e5e12

If anything this could force dense developments in urban areas. What a concept. As much as I disagree with the verdict it's probably good for us who like density. Face it, an Ashby or San Felipe high rise doesn't create urbanity.

Edited by lockmat
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  • 1 month later...

What is the scoop on this. I haven't heard a thing since the judgement against the developer. Anyone have an update?

 

There is no news. The court has not yet ruled on the plaintiff's motion for a permanent injunction.

 

Whatever the ruling is, expect an appeal.

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  • 1 month later...

The whole thing is a bit farcical--I remember in 2008, seeing the "Stop Ashby High Rise" signs for the first time all up and down streets in the Museum District. My cousins explained the controversy and site, Maryland Manor apartments, that the building would replace. Five years past, I'm in the same area, and all that's occurred is that the apartments are an overgrown lot. That's it. Five years of yellow signs and all that has been done is demolishing an aging apartment complex. Truly strange--though I attribute part of its delay with a recession that set in during that time.

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Ironically, I still think they could flip this lot for a very healthly return right now.  Some well funded builder could put up 20 single family homes (probably a gated drive down the middle?) at $1.5+ million each.  But I think for this property to just end up as another gated enclave would be shame.

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Ironically, I still think they could flip this lot for a very healthly return right now.  Some well funded builder could put up 20 single family homes (probably a gated drive down the middle?) at $1.5+ million each.  But I think for this property to just end up as another gated enclave would be shame.

A cluster of townhomes would take home lots of money for somebody, or even some sort of 4-5 story apartment building--it seems rather chic now to tear down a 1970s/1980s era Inner Loop apartment complex and replace it with a denser, more modern, upscale development.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Houston's city attorney told a Harris County judge on Friday that halting the Ashby high-rise project would "irreparably impair future developments in the city," despite a jury verdict last year in favor of nearby residents who successfully sued developers of the 21-story tower planned for 1717 Bissonnet.

"The uncertainty surrounding the outcome of such lawsuits would hinder developers from financing, leasing and constructing real estate developments in Houston, which require long-term secure contracts," City Attorney David Feldman wrote in a letter delivered to state District Judge Randy Wilson. "We urge the Court to consider the serious public policy considerations involved."

A jury in Wilson's court last year sided with residents who opposed the project and awarded them $1.7 million in damages while agreeing the building would hurt their property values, damage their homes and create a traffic nuisance.

Four months after that verdict, Wilson will convene a hearing Monday for attorneys to present final arguments over whether the project should be allowed to move forward and how much of the jury damages the developer should pay.

Feldman's letter says the city is concerned that granting a permanent injunction would create uncertainty that could stall other developments. He noted that the project at 1717 Bissonnet is fully permitted and satisfies all deed restrictions as well as regulations that were in effect when it was approved.

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/real-estate/article/City-weighs-in-as-court-grapples-with-decision-5413793.php?cmpid=btfpm#/0

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Translation, developers own City Hall. 

 

Since that verdict, how many projects have been announced and how many have broken ground? Hundreds. Everything from skyscrapers to strip malls.

 

How do you come to that conclusion considering they met all requirements? I don't think government should control developers if they meet all requirements, otherwise, what's the point of the requirements? They become meaningless or just guidelines, giving uncertainty for banks. If they're not allowed to build, it won't affect most developments, probably just ones like this one and San Felipe. But like everything, give an inch, give up a mile and residents will be able to stop almost anything.

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Between this and developers "threatening" taller building if variances aren't granted; I think it's about time to put zoning up for a vote, again.

 

I agree that if this project is stopped it would be bad for developments in the city. This would definitely set a precedent that it doesn't matter if your project is approved and follows all the rules, it could be stopped at any time, even if you're willing to compensate neighbors for their problems. Why spend the time and money? Developers and lenders are by nature risk-averse - they will take only calculated risks, and price those risks into their proformas. This is not the type of risk that can be priced in.

 

If you don't want tall buildings in your cozy residential neighborhood, then vote for zoning. Put up or shut up.

 

For the record, I also think it makes no sense to build this tower in this neighborhood, but based on our city's laws, that is completely irrelevant. In fact, that is exactly what we asked for when we voted zoning down. We collectively said we want to be able to build whatever we want, wherever we want. That also means our nehighboors can build whatever they want. 

 

And this is not just about residential buildings in residential neighborhoods by the way. What's to keep business owners in midtown stoping an apartment building because construction will affect business? In fact, if neighbors can band together to stop a building because of unwritten rules, what will keep a bunch of apartment owners from blocking a new apartment building they see as competition? Or a new apartment building for middle-income families that could drive down the rents for neighboring luxury rentals? This list could go on and on....

 

 

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How do you come to that conclusion considering they met all requirements? I don't think government should control developers if they meet all requirements, otherwise, what's the point of the requirements? They become meaningless or just guidelines, giving uncertainty for banks. If they're not allowed to build, it won't affect most developments, probably just ones like this one and San Felipe. But like everything, give an inch, give up a mile and residents will be able to stop almost anything.

 

I came to that conclusion because the city attorney is asking the judge to overturn a 12-0 Jury verdict. Apparently, developers like "activist judges" when it suits their needs...

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  • 2 weeks later...

So...the Judge saying that they can build.  But, they have to pay for damages that have been caused and will have to pay damages to future claims awarded by courts?  Is that what I am reading?  Is that different than how things are for other construction projects/buildings?

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So...the Judge saying that they can build.  But, they have to pay for damages that have been caused and will have to pay damages to future claims awarded by courts?  Is that what I am reading?  Is that different than how things are for other construction projects/buildings?

 

This can't be right...

 

They cannot be on tap to pay damages to whoever wants to file a claim... that is outrageous. What I took from it is:

 

They have to pay damages either way, now, and they can build.

 

Green light in my mind. Just an added 1.7 million dollar cost (for damages).

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It is a matter of time before everything inside the loop becomes mid / high rises... Houston is a big city. land value won't be going down anytime (trend is up). Ashby highrise will be followed by others. If you havent noticed, all the cheap construction / cheap apartment buildings / townhouses end up becoming devalued - and developers see this as a brilliant flag of opportunity; and come in.

 

The previous apartments weren't good... yet they were younger than many of the other homes surrounding. I think this building is beautiful, and I hope it goes up.

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As to whether the project should be prevented, that part should never have gotten to the jury. The judge should have dismissed that part as a matter of law.

As to damages, that I see being decided by a jury. That is what juries do. They decide matters of fault and award damages.

The judge as he did now could have done ages ago and allow the project to continue while the matter of damages goes on.

The residents and juries are trying to implement zoning codes through verdicts.

No dice. The public needs to vote on this again.

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It is a matter of time before everything inside the loop becomes mid / high rises... Houston is a big city. land value won't be going down anytime (trend is up). Ashby highrise will be followed by others. If you havent noticed, all the cheap construction / cheap apartment buildings / townhouses end up becoming devalued - and developers see this as a brilliant flag of opportunity; and come in.

The previous apartments weren't good... yet they were younger than many of the other homes surrounding. I think this building is beautiful, and I hope it goes up.

There are neighborhoods that I wish would not change much, and there are others I would mind seeing two dozen Ashby hirises in *cough*cough* Afton Oaks*cough*cough*

The neighborhoods around the museum district shouldn't be funked with.

River Oaks I care less about

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This can't be right...

They cannot be on tap to pay damages to whoever wants to file a claim... that is outrageous. What I took from it is:

They have to pay damages either way, now, and they can build.

Green light in my mind. Just an added 1.7 million dollar cost (for damages).

It is not whoever wants to file a claim. They will be paid the difference between the property values before Ashby and now. If there had been no diminished values thres is no recovery

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Lawyer Josh Blackman called the residents' claim of nuisance " backdoor zoning for the wealthy" which isn't proper use of the land.  

 

I had him for Property I a year ago! The prof has a genius level IQ... Seriously may be the smartest person I know.  Great guy.

 

Here is a link to his blog!

 

 

http://joshblackman.com/

Edited by WestUdweller
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Houston has a problem with creeping zoning. Although we do not have a master zoning plan, there are a number of ordinances relating to building setbacks and minimum lot sizes. We also have gerrymandered 'historic districts' (looking at you, First Ward) that restrict what might be redeveloped. I agree with others on this forum that it might be time to put a master zoning plan up for a vote again.

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Houston has a problem with creeping zoning. Although we do not have a master zoning plan, there are a number of ordinances relating to building setbacks and minimum lot sizes. We also have gerrymandered 'historic districts' (looking at you, First Ward) that restrict what might be redeveloped. I agree with others on this forum that it might be time to put a master zoning plan up for a vote again.

What about that new plan the mayor was talking about to focus development in certain areas and what not. Kind of like zoning, but not.

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  • The title was changed to The Langley: Residential High-Rise At 1717 Bissonnet St.

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